Advocacy organization Heady Vermont has launched a petition aimed at the NYPD’s 75th District and Brooklyn district attorney Eric Gonzalez demanding the return of 106 pounds of wrongfully seized Vermont-grown hemp.
On the morning of Saturday, November 2, Oren Levy, owner of Green Angel Oil, and his brother Ronen Levy, owner of ThatPetCure CBD were waiting for a shipment of legal hemp from Fox Holler Farm in New Haven, Vermont, when they got a call from the NYPD that the hemp had arrived, been searched, verified, and that they could come down to receive the shipment.
But when Ronen Levy showed up at the NYPD’s 75th District, he was arrested by officers who claimed that the 106 pounds of hemp had tested positive for THC – even though it had been cleared by the Williston, Vermont Police, and came with third-party lab certification and instructions from the staff at Fox Holler Farms to contact the Vermont Department of Agriculture if the shipment were seized.
The NYPD posted on social media that they had achieved a major drug bust and confiscated “marijuana that was destined for our city streets.” The confiscated hemp was, in actuality, destined to be made into CBD oil for people and pets. The 75th District’s posts have since been removed from Facebook and Twitter.
Ultimately, Ronen Levy was released on his own recognizance, and given a court date of December 2, where it was expected that the charges would be dropped because the Levys had done nothing illegal in shipping their hemp from Vermont to New York.
But, when December 2 arrived, Ronen Levy was told – without additional explanation – that his court date had been moved to May 29. Not only does the delay prolong his legal ordeal, but it means the Levys still don’t have access to the $35,000 of legal hemp that they paid for, and Ronen Levy’s business has suffered as a result.
“Hemp is a federally legal plant,” says Heady Vermont CEO Monica Donovan. “The 2018 Farm Bill descheduled hemp so that it is not considered a Schedule I controlled substance. Plus,” she adds, “A May 2019 USDA memo specifically noted that it is legal to transport hemp across state lines. Which means the Levys were operating within the law, the NYPD 75th Precinct entirely overstepped its bounds, misrepresented what happened, has not taken responsibility for its errors or apologized to the Levys, and has not returned the hemp – harming Ronen Levy’s fully legal business. We won’t let that stand.”
The Change.org petition demands that the NYPD’s 75th District and Brooklyn district attorney Eric Gonzalez drop the charges, apologize for arresting Ronen Levy, and release Oren and Ronen Levy’s legal hemp!